The experimental coronavirus treatment remdesivir has failed in its first randomized clinical trial, inadvertently released results showed Thursday, dampening expectations for the closely watched drug.

A draft summary went online briefly on the website of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and was first reported by the Financial Times and Stat, which posted a screenshot.

But Gilead Sciences, the company behind the medicine, disputed how the now-deleted post had characterised the findings, saying the data showed a “potential benefit.”

The summary said the Chinese trial involved 237 patients, with 158 on the drug and 79 in a control group. Remdesivir was stopped early in 18 patients because of side effects.

The authors said remdesivir was “not associated with a difference in time to clinical improvement” compared to the control.

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